President Cyril Ramaphosa has said that he would rather have dropped from the race to become the ANC president if his campaign team was involved in vote-buying in the run-up to the ANC conference at which he was elected the president of the ruling party. Ramaphosa was responding to questions fielded to him by the evidence leaders at the Zondo Commission as the Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of State Capture has come to be known.
Said Mr. Ramaphosa, “There is a legend that is doing the rounds that the money was used to buy votes. I said to my comrades, I don’t want to be part of any campaign that descends into any of those behaviours that we talk about in the ANC. I said I would leave the race rather than have votes bought.” He added that the campaign money had been used for transport, hiring of venues, making of t-shirts and caps as well as bussing and feeding people.
Another question that came up during his stint at giving evidence was that of the source of funds for his campaign. He said that he and his campaign managers had taken a conscious decision to keep him in the dark about the source of the funds even though he admitted to having met some individuals at some of the fundraising dinners that he hosted. Ramaphosa reiterated that they had created a wall so that anyone who contributed to his campaign could not think that he would get anything in return.
Turning to the allegations that had been submitted to the Commission by two diplomats that they had received debit order forms so that they could contribute money to the ANC, Ramaphosa implied that this was how contributions were made to the party, adding that when he was a businessman, he often contributed large sums of money through the use of debit forms, adding that it was standard practice in the ANC as he had also requested members to complete debit forms in the 1990s when he was the party’s Secretary-General.